Learning Online: How Far Can You Take Your Education?

If you are looking into online education, the possibilities are limitless. Schools now offer a variety of degree programs in more fields than previously thought possible. Once you have chosen your preferred field of study, you can choose the extent of your study. Online universities offer online associate degrees, online bachelor’s degrees, online master’s degrees and online PhD programs in addition to online certificate programs. You can also choose to continue with your education after you have earned your first degree.


The most common form of an online degree is the online associate degree or the online bachelor’s degree. The online associate degree is the equivalent of earning a degree at a two-year institution. These degrees typically require about 60 credit hours and usually take about two years or less to complete.

For your online bachelor’s degree, you will be earning what is also known as an undergraduate or baccalaureate degree, which are traditionally earned from a four-year college or university. The number of credit hours you must complete for an online bachelor’s degree depends on your selected field of study. Many jobs list this degree as a minimal requirement upon applying. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, but many online schools offer accelerated programs for earning your online bachelor’s in much less time.

If you want to continue your education after earning a bachelor’s degree, an online master’s degree is for you. A master’s or graduate degree equips graduates of the program with expert knowledge in their field, above and beyond what is learned with only a bachelor’s degree. Most master’s programs require 30-60 credit hours, which takes about 2 years, but in some cases can be achieved in one year through accelerated programs.

The ultimate level of education is the PhD. Online PhD candidates must complete coursework, pass qualifying examinations, conduct research in their field and create and present a dissertation offering new insights into the field. An online doctoral degree can be earned in 3 to 4 years depending on the pace of the student.

The level of your education can open up doors in your career, but whichever level of online study you wish to pursue, you are headed towards a brighter future.